What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an ancient system of health care effective in treating many conditions. It’s based on an energetic model rather than the biochemical model of Western medicine. The Ancient Chinese recognized the vital energy behind all life forms and life processes. They called this energy Qi (pronounced “chee”).


How Does it Work?

Ancient Physicians, in developing and understanding the prevention and cure of disease, discovered a system of specific energetic pathways in the human body. Acupuncture points are located along these pathways. Each point has a predictable effect upon the vital energy passing through it. Modern science has been able to measure the electrical charges at these points, thus corroborating the locations of the meridians mapped by the ancients.


Disease is considered to arise because of deficiency or imbalance of vital energy resulting from such factors as trauma, stress, diet, pathogenic factors and genetic tendencies. Acupuncture disrupts the pattern of deficiency or imbalance and enhances the body’s own natural ability to heal.

What Can I Expect in a Treatment?

Many conditions may be alleviated very rapidly by acupuncture. However some conditions that have arisen over a course of years will be relieved only with slow, steady progress. As in any form of healing, the patient’s attitude, diet, determination and lifestyle will affect the outcome of a course of treatment. Traditional Chinese medicine is also an educational process in which the patient becomes more aware of his or her own body, thus increasing its ability to maintain health and well-being.


Although there are techniques in Traditional Chinese medicine for healing most conditions, there are medical circumstances that can be dealt with more effectively by Western medicine. In such cases, your acupuncturist will recommend that you contact a physician. As is the case in China, acupuncture should be seen as complementary to Western medicine.


Is Acupuncture Safe?

In the hands of a licensed acupuncturist, your safety is assured. The needles are sterilized and disposable.

Is Acupuncture Painful?

Acupuncture bears no resemblance to the feeling of receiving an injection; since the main source of pain from injections is the larger diameter, hollow needle and the medication being forced into the tissue by pressure. Acupuncture needles are very fine and flexible, about the diameter of a human hair. In most cases, insertion by a skilled practitioner is performed with a minimum of discomfort. Most patients find the treatments very relaxing and many fall asleep during the treatments. In some cases, your practitioner may also recommend dietary, exercise or lifestyle changes.


Why Are More People Trying Acupuncture?

  • Acupuncture empowers people, returning to them the responsibility and control of their own bodies and health care.

  • Acupuncture successfully treats many health issues that may not be addressed by Western medical practitioners.

  • Acupuncture is safe, effective and has virtually no side effects.

  • Acupuncture treats the whole person, not just the disease.

  • Acupuncture uses the body’s natural healing processes to effect relief.


What is Functional Medicine?

Functional Medicine, rather than targeting individual symptoms, focuses on the optimal functioning of the entire body and its organs. It addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach in partnership with understanding the conditions and history in which the disease manifested. Genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors all have a direct influence of long-term health and chronic health issues.


Functional Medicine Overview

What is the Ballard Acupunture Center Method?

The Ballard Acupuncture Center’s Method is based on the Kalish Method of Functional Medicine combined with the rich clinical history of Chinese medicine. The Kalish Method is a functional medicine lab based health approach focused on addressing five common conditions – weight gain, fatigue, depression, female hormone and digestive problems – through restoring the 3 main body systems: hormones, digestion and detoxification.


How is the Ballard Acupuncture Center’s approach different from other practitioners?

The Kalish Method addresses the 5 most chronic symptoms of weight gain, fatigue, depression, hormone imbalances and digestive problems that are typically misunderstood/misdiagnosed by conventional medicine practitioners who attempt to address the symptoms, not the root cause/damaged system.


The Kalish Method is a lab-based natural health protocol that tests and identifies the dysfunction of the 3 core main body systems. Typically these 3 main systems have become compromised long BEFORE the symptoms appeared.  The lab tests are used to determine the required natural support needed rebalance your body back to its normal state.


What is Avigail Cohen, L.Ac.’s success rate treating people with “adrenal fatigue” HPA-Axis dysregulation?

Avigail Cohen’s protocols are based upon his mentor, Dr. Kalish.  Dr. Kalish’s adrenal protocol has been tested and proven with 23 years of clinical experience by over 8,000 patients. Avigail Cohen combines these proven protocols with her 13 years of experience in traditional Chinese medicine. With that said, it depends on the diligence of each client in following their daily protocol and making lifestyle changes that only they can be responsible for implementing. Avigail is committed to assisting and empowering her clients to take back their health and experience life changing results if they are committed to doing so as well.


How long does it take to get results?

Results vary by each person. Some people feel dramatic improvement within the first month, others may take a bit longer. Our standard programs are for a minimum of 6 months. Remember, your body didn’t fail overnight. Years of stress and illness takes its toll and it takes a proper amount of time to restore. On average it takes one month of repair for each year you’ve suffered from a specific problem.


Consultation Process

What is the best way to schedule an appointment with Avigail Cohen, L.Ac.?

The fastest and easiest way to schedule an appointment is by calling or emailing us at info@BallardAcuCenter.com or 206-491-7746. BOOK AN APPOINTMENT


How quickly can I get an appointment?

We encourage clients to book 2 weeks in advance. Depending on the time of the year, we can usually schedule a new patient or lab results appointment within 1-2 weeks of the requested time. If you are having an acute health crisis initial acupuncture consultations can often be scheduled sooner.


How many labs are required per person?

The number of labs recommended will depend on your individual situation including the number of issues you struggle with and the length of time you have been experiencing them, but the range is 1-4 lab tests.


Do I have to take all the recommended tests at once?

The number of labs recommended will depend on your individual situation including the number of issues you struggle with and the length of time you have been experiencing them, but the range is 1-4 lab tests.


How long does it take to get the lab results?

The results of your lab test(s) will be sent to Avigail Cohen, L.Ac.  2 to 4 weeks after mailing your specimens to the lab. After evaluation we will contact you to schedule a follow up appointment to review your results with Avigail and she will recommend a wellness protocol.


Who does the lab review and wellness program design?

Avigail Cohen, L.Ac.  does all lab review sessions and will design your protocol during your lab results consultation. The rest of our team helps with follow up, nutritional and lifestyle coaching as well as with disseminating all of our health and wellness educational information.


Can I order my own test kits through the laboratories or can my regular doctor order the lab tests for me?

Our authorized laboratories are only able to sell test kits to licensed practitioners. Avigail Cohen, L.Ac.  uses specific lab tests from small lab companies that exclusively offer functional medicine tests. Larger national labs and local hospital based labs are not helpful for these types of highly specialized tests.


What laboratories does Avigail Cohen, L.Ac. use? And why?

Avigail Cohen, L.Ac.  has learned over many years that the accuracy of your lab findings and the quality of the professionals performing the lab tests is the key to you uncovering what’s going on. Quality is not equal across all lab companies. Many times we see “normal” test results from regular lab companies and our lab tests find many “functional” problems. The lab companies used by Avigail have the highest testing standards and the most consistent lab results year after year. These are not replacements for regular medical tests, these tests are only used to detect “functional” issues rather than medical problems and aren’t meant to diagnose or recommend protocols for diseases. We are attempting to detect problems with the functioning of organ systems prior to the onset of a disease.


What type of lab tests are required?

Depending on the type of test, the samples required are saliva, urine or stool. All tests are completed by the client through easy test kits that are self-administered in the comfort of your own home. Avigail Cohen, L.Ac. does not do any blood tests.


How long are the consultations?

  • Initial new patient consultations are 45 minutes to an hour.

  • Follow up lab result consultations can be scheduled for 30 min. (if you have 1-2 tests) or 45 min. (if you have 2-4 tests) sessions.

  • Existing client follow up consultations can be scheduled for 15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes.


Can I purchase supplements other than from Ballard Acupuncture Center?

Avigail Cohen, L.Ac. has carefully selected the products that have the superior quality and strength to provide the necessary clinical outcomes. If you want to do your own research on different supplements, we welcome you to do so but we do not provide any other recommendations nor advise on other specific blends or brands. If you purchase other supplements from other manufacturers, please research carefully. Not all ingredients are equal.


What is the best method to return the new client paperwork?

Please scan or send your paperwork to the office at BallardAcuCenter.com or send it to 2224 NW 56th St. Seattle, WA 98107. We cannot accept any pictures of documentation taken via cell phones.


Cost / Insurance

What are the fees for Functional Medicine consultations?

  • New patient initial consultation: 60 minutes for $250

  • Lab result consultation for 1-2 labs: 30 minutes for $125

  • Lab result consultation for 3-4 labs: 45 minutes for $185

  • Check-in or program adjustment: 15 minutes for $60

  • All follow up consultations are in 15 min time blocks.

15 min: $60

30 min: $125

45 min: $185

60 min: $250

  • All consultations will be billed for the actual time used.


What are the fees for acupuncture consultations and treatments:

  • Initial appointments and treatments are $175

  • Follow up appointments are $95


How much do lab tests cost?

Depending on the lab test, the cost is $150-$300 per lab kit and you can always start a program just by ordering a single test.


How much do wellness programs cost after lab work?

Depending on the protocol created by Avigail Cohen, L.Ac., the estimated total cost starts at approximately $100 and depends on the length of the program.


What is the average cost I will incur for my initial new patient consult plus test kits?

It depends on how many test kits are recommended (typically 1-4) but we always recommend that if there are any budgetary concerns, clients start with their first test.


Does my new patient consultation fee include follow ups, test kits and supplements?

The new patient consultation is an assessment of your health and recommendations on what tests are required to understand the state of your body systems. The new patient consultation fee does not include any follow ups, test kits or supplements. It does include extensive wellness resources including videos, books and handouts.


Types of payment that are accepted:

Methods of payment are: Cash, personal check, Visa or MasterCard.


How does Avigail Cohen, L.Ac. bill his patients?

Payment is due at time of consultation. If paying by credit card, the card number is required to be on file with our office prior to the consultation. Checks are accepted if received prior to the consult.


Does Ballard Acupuncture Center take insurance?

We do not bill insurance for Functional Medicine services. Superbills can be provided.  Acupuncture can billed according to the benefits of your specific plan.



What supplements are used to support adrenal fatigue?

Depending on the results of your lab tests, Avigail Cohen, L.Ac. uses different combinations of DHEA, pregnenolone, and all of the herbs, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals required for adrenal recovery.


What are DHEA, pregnenolone, progesterone, licorice?

These are natural, plant based products that support and balance the adrenal glands and are combined into customized wellness plans based on individual lab results.


Why does Avigail Cohen, L.Ac. use bio-identical hormones?

The goal of the Kalish Method of Functional Medicine is to mimic the body’s natural reproduction of its own hormones and we only use products that naturally occur in the body to restore your internal production of adrenal hormones.


How long are the programs that Avigail Cohen, L.Ac. recommends?

Initial programs range anywhere from 3-6 months depending on the degree of your health condition.


How often should I retest?

While retesting isn’t required, it is recommended that a client retest at the 6 month mark to measure improvement and adjust protocols if needed. Once a client has achieved their desired health results, we recommend annual testing to ensure your body systems continue functioning at their best.


Products / Shipping

What is the Ballard Acupuncture Center’s return policy?

  • Pre-approval is required on all returns. Refrigerated items cannot be returned.

  • 15% restock fee of purchase price less shipping and handling may be refunded on unopened and non-refrigerated items.

  • No supplement returns will be accepted after 30 days on all regularly stocked items.

  • Special orders cannot be returned.

  • Prepaid tests can be returned for credit within 3 months of purchase.


What is the fastest way to order supplements/test kits after I have become a patient?

The quickest and easiest way to order supplements or test kits is to call or email your request.



Background / Communication


What is Avigail Cohen, L.Ac’s background?

Avigail Cohen is a licensed acupuncturist with 13 years of clinical experience.  In addition to her Chinese medical studies she has completed the mentorship of the Kalish Institute of Functional Medicine. Please refer to her bio for further information.


Can I email Avigail Cohen, L.Ac. with any questions/concerns?

Avigail is happy to answer brief questions via email you may have about your protocol or symptoms. If it is a complex question which requires further back and forth communication, Avigail will recommend scheduling a 15 min. consult.


How would you describe Duncan Macdonald, L.Ac. personality / practitioner style?

Duncan is a very caring practitioner. He is deeply passionate about empowering people to take back their health and live fully balanced happy lives. He found his way to his career through his own health challenge and knows what it’s like to have a chronic health conditions. In working with thousands of patients, he practices kindness and understanding through all of his interactions. Please see our testimonial page of our website for feedback from many of his patients.


What should I do if I am struggling sticking to my protocol?

We completely understand that many times, prioritizing a wellness plan requires major life changes. Our advice is to start one product at a time and take one day at a time. Often keeping a health journal allows one to stay on track and also shows the progression that we often forget when we need a little inspiration.